No plans to close campuses but university leaders set March 23rd deadline for continuity of instruction planning and provide accommodations for faculty and employees at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19
Orono, Maine — The University of Maine System is prohibiting all university-sponsored non-essential air travel and is strongly encouraging students, faculty, and staff to avoid personal travel to any domestic or international areas with known COVID-19 cases or community transmission of the disease. The limitations are part of a number of COVID-19 Directives Chancellor Dannel Malloy developed with the University Presidents and the Dean of the Maine Law School to help limit potential exposure to coronavirus and better prepare the university to fulfill its academic mission.
Chancellor Dannel Malloy and university leaders are also encouraging students to stay on campus over spring break and will be opening residence and dining halls to support students without additional room or board charges. Campus operation teams will be working over the next few days to finalize plans to potentially accommodate thousands of students living on campus next week.
Spring Break in the University of Maine System is March 16 – 22.
“We want to encourage students, faculty, and staff to stay here in Maine to limit their potential exposure to coronavirus and to do our part to help halt the spread of this terrible disease,” said Dannel Malloy, Chancellor of the University of Maine System. “I am personally very grateful for the dedication of our resident life, facilities, and dining service teams who are making it possible for us to accommodate our students here on campus over spring break.”
The COVID-19 Directives set a March 23rd deadline for continuity of instruction planning across the University of Maine System that would transition academic programs to distance and online modalities in the event that the spread of COVID-19 forces a disruption of campus operations. There are no plans to close campuses but the March 23rd deadline ensures that by the end of spring break the university will have the capacity to fulfill its academic mission and commitment to students if campus-based operations are impacted before the end of the semester.
Chancellor Malloy and the University Presidents are also working to provide work accommodations to faculty and staff at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease are at a higher risk of serious illness from coronavirus infection.
Faculty who face higher risks associated with COVID-19 will be able to transition to online and distance instruction as soon as possible and staff employees with similar risks who communicate a desire to work remotely will be given preference for “telecommuting” work-from-home arrangements to the extent possible. Students facing higher risks may seek accommodations from their university accessibility services office.
COVID-19 University Info Line — (207) 581-2681 (COV1): The University of Maine is standing up a COVID-19 Info Line on March 10 that will be available by the end of the day as a trusted source of information for all University of Maine System students, staff, and employees. The Info Line will be staffed around the clock for general guidance questions and will route campus-specific inquiries to staff at the individual universities.
Please visit the UMS COVID-19 Public Health Advisory page for the latest updates and guidance from the University of Maine System.
Distributed 9:20 AM, March 10, 2020